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Comparing former OSU QBs running abilities to C.J. Stroud

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Stroud claims that his job is to throw the ball. Well, once upon a time there was a QB nicknamed “12 Gauge” who still managed to use his legs...

Minnesota v Ohio State

I think it is widely accepted by now that C.J. Stroud is known for his right arm rather than his legs. It is becoming increasingly obvious how much the freshman quarterback tries to avoid running— Stroud has five rushing yards on the season. FIVE. That number is astounding to me and got me thinking: what were the running abilities of Ohio State’s last few QBs compared to Stroud?

Justin Fields (2019-2020)

CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T - Ohio State v Alabama Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Fields isn’t really comparable to Stroud since he is the definition of a dual-threat quarterback, but let’s take a bit of a dive into his rushing capabilities anyway.

Fields rushed for a total of 867 yards during his two year stint at OSU, averaging four yards per attempt. He was (and still is) the king of scrambling and staying cool once the pocket collapsed. He was quick, agile and not afraid to dive for a first down.

When comparing Fields and Stroud stature-wise, they’re almost identical. Both are listed at 6-foot-3, and Fields is actually about 10 pounds heavier (227 pounds) than Stroud (218 pounds). So, it’s not that Stroud is a lot taller or heavier than Fields and physically can’t run as well. In fact, he has a great build to do so.

What makes Fields such a great runner? He is very in tune with his body, which was probably a result of him playing the middle infield during his baseball career through high school. Therefore, transferring that to the football field was probably fairly natural to him. When he sees an opening for him to move, he takes it with little to no hesitation.

Dwayne Haskins (2018)

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Now for a QB that is the total opposite of Fields — Dwayne Haskins. He was a top five pro-style quarterback coming out of high school, and that translated right into his one year of greatness at Ohio State.

Haskins is definitely more similar to Stroud than Fields is, but both QBs are at opposite sides of the spectrum when it comes to running the ball, with Stroud in the middle. Obviously Haskins is solely known for his absolute cannon of an arm (remember his 50 passing TDs). He rushed for 108 yards during his entire starting season.

That stat is slightly misleading, however, because the NCAA counts sack yardage against QBs’ rushing totals (which doesn’t really make sense, but whatever). So, without counting those yards subtracted, he had 215 rushing yards on 59 carries.

This should demonstrate that even the most pro-style QB that Ohio State has had in the past decade still ran a decent amount; AKA more than five yards. Yes, Haskins is most definitely known for his passing skills, but he still was mobile enough to use his legs when necessary.

J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones (2014-2017), (2014 Three Game King, 2015)

Ohio State University vs University of Hawaii Set Number: X159934 TK1

Again, two extremely different skillsets between Barrett and Jones. Barrett rushed for 3,263 yards during his collegiate career, while Jones earned the nickname of “12 Gauge.” However he still ran for 617 yards as a Buckeye!

Barrett is very comparable to Fields. He amassed over 9,000 passing yards while at Ohio State, in addition to the 3,000 rushing yards he racked up. Again, a true dual-threat quarterback. He was very tricky for defenses to figure out, especially on the ground. While he was a good passer, he struggled with accuracy. His legs were definitely one of the key parts of his game.

Jones on the other hand is more like Haskins. He was an absolute gunslinger, totaling about 2,300 passing yards in 23 games played. At 6-foot-5, 249 pounds, Jones still found a way to move surprisingly well for a man as big as he.


Do you see the point I am trying to get across here? After hearing Stroud’s response when asked why he doesn’t run: “If my job was to run the ball, I’d be a running back or something. I throw the ball for a living,” I was intrigued to see what former quarterbacks’ stats might have to display in return.

Moral of the story: Stroud is going to have to run more than five yards this season.

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